K. V. Petrides on Trait Emotional Intelligence
Emerging Research Front Commentary, August 2010
Article: The location of trait emotional intelligence in personality factor space
Authors: Petrides, KV;Pita, R;Kokkinaki,
K.V. Petrides talks with ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about this month's Emerging Research Front paper in the field of Psychiatry & Psychology.
Why do you think your paper is highly cited?
Because it provides an empirically based definition for a psychological construct that has been as popular as it has been elusive.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?
The paper describes the definition of trait emotional intelligence (EI) as a constellation of emotional self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality hierarchies. In other words, it defines trait EI, not as a cognitive ability, but as a collection of personality traits concerning people's perceptions of their emotional abilities. It then goes on to show how these traits predict numerous outcomes (such as life satisfaction, coping strategies, and rumination) much better than a host of other variables.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?
"Trait emotional intelligence is about people’s self-perceptions of their emotional abilities..."
The paper shows that there are significant individual differences in people's perceptions of their emotional abilities. Some of us are very confident we can understand and regulate our feelings, while others feel overwhelmed by them. These perceptions are generally stable over time and have a direct influence on mood, behavior, achievement, and action.
How did you become involved in this research, and how would you describe the particular challenges, setbacks, and successes that you've encountered along the way?
I became involved in this research as a direct result of my wish to apply empirical rigor to nebulous ideas. So far, it has been a very rewarding and unexpectedly successful journey.
Where do you see your research leading in the future?
Trait EI is about people's self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. It is essentially an intrapersonal construct. In other words, it deals primarily with people's perceptions of their internal world. I am interested in extending this research into the interpersonal domain through the development of the construct of trait social intelligence.
Do you foresee any social or political implications for your research?
Trait EI and its measurement vehicle, the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue), are currently used in a wide range of applied contexts, including business organizations, educational, clinical, and medical settings. In the light of consistently promising results, the domains of application seem set to expand in the future.
Dr. K.V. Petrides
Reader in Psychology and Psychometrics
London Psychometric Laboratory (Web)
University College London (UCL)
KEYWORDS: TRAIT EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, LOCATION, PERSONALITY FACTOR SPACE, SELF-REPORT, VALIDATION, SCALE, CONSTRUCTION, PERFORMANCE, MODEL.